I Am Sitting in a Partially Buried Boombox resituates Alvin Lucier’s seminal 1969 composition I Am Sitting in a Room within a minature variation on Robert Smithson’s equally seminal public sculpture Partially Buried Wood Shed from 1970. A pile of sawdust on the gallery floor almost entirely conceals a portable CD player with attached speakers (or “boombox”). The boombox plays the artist’s own idiosyncratic re-performance of Lucier’s original composition.

The recorded sound of this performance is not, however, fed back into the room to reveal the space’s resonant frequencies, as it is in the original. Instead, the sound simply emits into the dirt of the pile that partially buries it, becoming absorbed and filtered by the dense material packed around it, while at the same time vibrating the fixed sculptural formation. Physical and historical weight, burial and erasure rub against vibratory disruption and chaotic variation until the CD player becomes so congested with sawdust that it skips and finally can no longer play.

I Am Sitting in a Partially Buried Boombox

sculpture and sound installation

installation view: NKD Nordic Artists Center, Dale, Norway